Tuesday 12 July 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Best Books of 2011 So Far

Okay, since it is Tuesday and I wanted to do another Top Ten post, I decided to combine it with my half-year report of the ten books I've enjoyed best so far in 2011.

1) The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

I think EVERYONE now knows how much I love this trilogy *grins* They were a complete revelation to me and I was stunned by the quality of the characters and the story.

From the review: I honestly don't believe that anything else I read this year will live up to the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. This is something incredibly special, and I'm honestly surprised that more people haven't been shouting at me to read it. Well, consider this me shouting to everyone else: READ THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY BY PATRICK NESS! It is suitable for all ages, and for both sexes (which I find incredibly unusual). It is brilliantly written, with vibrant voices and very immediate characters. It is a true rollercoaster ride. Just perfect.

2) Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

The third novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, and by far the best and most emotional so far.

From the review: From huge epic sweeping moments, to the mundane talk between soldiers waiting for the next battle, this is a supreme novel and the very finest example of what can be accomplished within fantasy fiction.

3) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Another real surprise to me. I think this is one of those special novels that can be beloved to both adults and children.

From the review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an exceptional tale; one that is destined to become a classic. It is undefinable and entirely beautiful.

4) Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

One of the few thriller novels I read and I certainly picked a doozy! This debut novel is receiving a helluva lot of buzz and it is easy to see why.

From the review: This is one of those books where you would pay extra for another copy if your original was missing the last chapter! Before I Go To Sleep is the type of novel where you seriously consider only catching a few hours sleep yourself in order to finish reading it.

It is breathless, highly accomplished and damn near perfect. Go and buy this book today.

5) Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

I waited waaaay too long to read this one - but it was WELL worth the wait!

From the review: In all, Zoo City is both fascinating as a study in modern literature, and exciting to read. It is one of those books that feels incredibly special as you read it, with a timeless quality. I hold my hands up: I should have read this months ago. Zoo City is a wonderful novel, and Lauren Beukes has instantly become a go-to novelist of mine. A stunning achievement.

Ahhhh.... So, this is a little bit of a misadvertisement! I don't have ten books that I would consider superlative. These five (technically, eight) novels above are just so beyond everything else I've read this year that I didn't want to include anything else! Here's hoping for some more five star reads in the second half of the year that can take their place on this list.

Which are your top reads of the year so far?


  1. "the very finest example of what can be accomplished within fantasy fiction."

    This is a massively sweeping statement, and having read a little of the opening chapter I could not possibly disagree with you more. Fantasy fiction gets A LOT better than this.

  2. Top reads so far (in no particular order):
    1) Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan - totally nutso. A couple of mild flaws in pacing but overall fab stuff.

    2) Deadline by Mira Grant - shock revelations all over the place and some fun ideas.

    3) Desdaemona by Ben Macallan - fun interactions between the two leads and some good twists.

    4) Way of the Wizard ed. by John Joseph Adams - that rare anthology where I actually liked all the stories.

    5) Neon Court by Kate Griffin - I like the London she depicts and she's got some excellent turns of phrase.

  3. By the way, this "brave anonymous" would like to state that A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham is one of the best books he's read this year, although it was published in 2007. It has about 10x more imagination and better writing than anything Erikson has ever written. But hey, if you actually rate Warhammer novels as a decent read, what more can I really say?

  4. Not sure I can name a top ten or even several, but the book that I've thought about the most, since reading it this year, has been The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker. There's some fascinating ideas explored and the characterisation is second to none. The way Bakker describes the conflict between Cnaiur and Kellhus is brilliant.

  5. Wish I could read that much! Dunno, The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie I guess, or The Alchemist and the Executioness by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell - great characters and solid worlds.

  6. Good list... I'm seeing that SJ Watson book everywhere now, and will have to give it a try. Never seen the Riggs before, but the cover alone looks *awesome*.

    I agree with Dungeonmum (The Alchemist is awesome) and (somewhat reluctantly) Anonymous - as I've also just discovered Abraham and really love his work. If you haven't tried the Long Price books yet, don't let a crabby commenter dissuade you from reading them.

  7. In no particular order:

    Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick - Twisty fun from a great POV.

    The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi - There is no one better in the short story world at present. He mixes ecology with magic in ways never imagined.

    Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine - One of the most original books you'll ever find. A worthy challenge.

    The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie - Abercrombie does military fantasy right.

    God's War by Kameron Hurley - New Weird Sci-Fi with bugs. Very edgy stuff with a tough female protagonist.

    Brave New Worlds ed. by John Joseph Adams - Easily the best anthology this year.

    The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - Say what you will about it being bloated and ponderous I couldn't get enough of Kvothe's life.

  8. Some of my favourites so far:

    *David Gemmell's Troy series.

    *Paul Kearney's The Monarchies of God series.

    *Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear.

    *Echo City by Tim Lebbon.

  9. Hmmm, I have not read these books yet. But I do have a few in Erikson's series, which I WANT to get started on. Thanks for the list here.:)

  10. I have heard so many good things about the SJ Watson book, I am going to have to get a copy!

  11. By far the best 2011 published book I've read this year is Redwood & Wildfire by Andrea Hairston (Aqueduct Press). It's a rich, moving, powerful historical fantasy about the lives and loves of early twentieth century POC in the USA.
    Lisa Goldstein's The Uncertain places is more conventional Fantasy but equally wonderful, as all of her work is.

  12. Oh l so want to read the The Chaos Walking trilogy and Before I Go To Sleep!